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To think there's a lot of pressure on our children to have boyfrirends/girlfrir ends?

(24 Posts)
AberdeenAnxious Thu 04-Oct-12 14:29:14

I don't think it's intentional pressure, and I don't think anyone means any harm by it but I do see it from a very young age.

It's harmless comments really. I've heard parents of young babies / toddlers describe a friend of the opposite sex as their 'girl/boyfriend'. And I think it just carries on like that. Many of my ds' friends (y2) describe themselves as having girlfriends. Ds has also been asked by adults whether he has a girlfriend yet.

Now, I'm not opposed to the boyfriend / girlfriend thing. I remember having two boyfriends at primary school (at the same time!). But I wonder if by labelling it as that kind of relationship so early on, it kind of perpetuates the myth that men and women can't just be friends. Because really, my 'boyfriends' were just that - friends who happened to be boys. I played at their houses and on the street with them, just as I did with my girl friends.

It seems that often, as soon as a boy becomes good friends with a girl there's a lot of 'ooh, is that your girlfriend then? Wit woo!' going on.

What do you think? Is it just a non-issue?

LesleyPumpshaft Thu 04-Oct-12 14:31:34

I don't think there's any harm in it, but I do wonder about what it's like for people who are gay. It must be pretty confusing for a child to grow up having hetrosexuality hoisted upon them like that if they're just not inclined to be that way.

Scholes34 Thu 04-Oct-12 14:31:50

Not an issue at our schools or where we live. Quite the opposite if anything.

chandellina Thu 04-Oct-12 14:32:12

I think it's a non-issue but my kids are only 4 and 1 so maybe we just haven't hit it yet. I can't imagine why anyone would want or expect a 7 year old to have a girlfriend.

It is a non-issue at my sons Catholic primary school.

If you let children be children, and you dont suggest that a child of the opposite gender is a "girl friend" or "boy friend", children will play quite happily together without this notion at all. Which proves to me at least, that it is totally unnatural for children to think in these terms. My oldest son is Y6, and there is NO talk at all like this.

So, I agree, it is created by adults, it is totally unnecessary, and cause nothing but embarrassment.

AberdeenAnxious Thu 04-Oct-12 14:38:41

Didn't think about the gay thing. You're right, that must be extra confusing.

It's not that it's something that I get het up about, and my ds have never mentioned having nor wanting a girlfriend. And exactly that, chandellina, I don't understand why it's something that's encouraged. I don't encourage it.

AberdeenAnxious Thu 04-Oct-12 14:41:23

I agree that it's created by adults, which is kind of my point. We put grown-up emotions on children when, actually, they just want to play and have fun with their peers.

Annunziata Thu 04-Oct-12 14:43:28

Yes, it's quite frustrating. My niece's (Catholic school) teacher tried to encourage them all to have 'dates' for their prom (another matter altogether in a primary school). A lot of unhappy kids and parents, eventually the head stepped in to put a stop to it all.

LesleyPumpshaft Thu 04-Oct-12 14:46:18

A lot of unhappy kids and parents, eventually the head stepped in to put a stop to it all.

Yes, what about the fat kid -- ie me at a tender age-- who gets ripped by the rest of the class. Lesleypumpshaft runs off and sobs

porcamiseria Thu 04-Oct-12 14:47:05

eeeew aunnziata that is rank, a date? primary school age? UGH

AberdeenAnxious Thu 04-Oct-12 14:48:03

That's shocking Annunziata. I hate the idea of primary school proms anyway, but to encourage them to take dates is even worse. My kids are also at a Catholic school but the pressure I've seen hasn't come from school and I would expect it not to. So far there seems to be a lot of emphasis on respecting and being kind to everyone. I hope it stays that way!

My dd is in reception and she recently told me that some boys had been kissing her but she didn't like it so she told the teacher. They've stopped kissing her now grin

LesleyPumpshaft Thu 04-Oct-12 14:53:16

Aren't Catholic schools supposed to discourage that sort of thing? Sorry, ignorant about Catholicism, but would have though that it's akin to 'starting 'em young'.

Scholes34 Thu 04-Oct-12 15:00:30

DC2 isn't interested in girls. I don't think that means he's gay. He's just not interested in girls. He simply prefers male company because male friends are more likely to want to talk about football, football stats, Champions league. As far as he's concerned, girls are too bossy. Why would he want to spend time with someone who's simply going to boss him around.

His point of view will change, I'm sure.

LisaMed Thu 04-Oct-12 15:03:16

DH's uncle and aunt decided they would get married when they were both 7, eventually got married and stayed together until he passed.

Adults are always asking my nearly six year old if he has a girlfriend. Having watched him charm lady shopkeepers, teachers, martial arts instructors and old ladies at bus stops I have decided that I am staying well away from the whole business.

Annunziata Thu 04-Oct-12 15:03:31

In the good old days they did, lesley. grin

Any good school wouldn't encourage it, doesn't matter whether they're Catholic or not.

TroublesomeEx Thu 04-Oct-12 15:07:25

I've not encountered it at our daughter's school generally either.

Although the other day I did see one of the mums holding her toddler daughter and pointing to a friends toddler boy in a pushchair and announcing "oh look, it's your liccle boyfriend". Which did make me hmm

My daughter had a 'boyfriend' in Reception. He kissed her on the cheek once before moving onto someone else. grin That's just children playing and is fine/natural.

I agree, when parents start talking about it it's a bit icky.

festivalwidow Thu 04-Oct-12 15:28:01

I agree, it is particularly bleurgh when adults project this sort of nonsense on to toddlers. They have friends. DD has perfected a wonderful withering look when adults ask 'Is that your ikkle boyfriend?' Fortunately not something we encounter too much not twice anyway.

I do accuse her of being a media luvvie for her habit of air-kissing her friends, but I think that's different.grin

minipie Thu 04-Oct-12 15:56:39

YANBU, I have heard adults describing their children and friends as "girlfriend and boyfriend" and I think it's bizarre and inappropriate and will simply lead to children thinking they "ought" to have a gf or bf at a very young age.

BizarreLoveTriangle Thu 04-Oct-12 16:05:25

Dsd1 is 17 and has never had a boyfriend, not even a primary school "boyfriend". She isn't bothered but it did get to her when dsd3, who is 8, told us she had a boyfriend. I don't think it is a problem, but when it is expected, it can be hurtful to those who don't have one.

Lottapianos Thu 04-Oct-12 16:09:49

It makes me hurl. Totally agree it's created by adults and it's all so coy and creepy. Are the women who do this also the type that engage in lots of loud laughter and hair-tossing whenever there is a man within 50 feet of them? Vomit confused

When my 7 year old, was asked if his friend in his class was his girlfriend, by some unsuspecting teen, he looked at her aghast and said:

"Dont be so childish, don't you know that boys and girls can be just friends?"

AberdeenAnxious Thu 04-Oct-12 20:33:59

grin What a brilliant response, QuintessentialShowers. And that's exactly it. Boys and girls can be friends, especially when they're young and don't get bombarded by all the flying hormones! The friendship doesn't need to be defined.

rempy Thu 04-Oct-12 20:38:24

I got very stern and uppity with BIL who said the "is he your boyfriend" - but he just didn't get why I was upset......but then he did also buy DD a baby grow with "all major credit cards accepted" on the front..................

AberdeenAnxious Thu 04-Oct-12 20:57:20

Nice, rempy. And how many times did she wear that delightful outfit before it got thrown in the bin lost?

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